Sarah Perez-Sanz

You say you support local food? Then show it.

Do you wish a local food movement would happen in Moab? Then do something.

The easiest and most meaningful way to support local food and farmers in the Moab area is to attend the Farmers Market. It is where participating producers go to sell their local (or perhaps regional) fruit, vegetables and meat products. Every dollar you spend on these goods goes directly back to the producer, and back into our community. A true win-win.

So, I challenge anyone who claims to support Moab’s local food scene and does not regularly attend the Moab Farmers Market.

The Moab Farmers Market is the most discernible part of the local food scene in this area. Sure, there are backyard gardeners and a few Community Supported Agriculture share programs available, but none of these avenues are as visible as the market. If we want to make the market even more pronounced through street closures off U.S. Highway 191/ Main Street, then the city has to first recognize the Farmers Market as a viable part of the community – for the local and tourist economies. Before that can happen, the market needs to grow on its own.

We should not complain that Grand Junction and Telluride and Crested Butte all shut down prominent streets to hold their markets. Why doesn’t the City of Moab just do the same? Well, that’s not going to happen here unless the market expands and the City of Moab notices its potential. And that will only happen if growers and individuals commit to attend the market regularly.

Furthermore, any farmer in the Moab area who wants to be considered part of the local food movement, but does not attend the market, is not fully participating in its development. We need to see more vendors at the market. There need to be options and healthy competition between growers because that makes for a more diverse and healthy market and food scene.

This may seem to lack understanding of farming and the challenges that it presents to those who honorably make it their life’s work, and I certainly don’t mean to bash any farmer in this community. But here’s a reality check: If you want to see the market flourish and become a viable source of income, you have to actually go. Even if it is unprofitable during the first few markets, or the first year, there needs to be a commitment to the Farmers Market in order to create any iota of demand for local food in this town. Change is not going to happen overnight and it definitely will not happen without farmers.

The Moab area has an incredible amount to offer in the way of seasonal produce: sweet spring spinach, delicious summer peaches and crisp fall lettuce. Why not take advantage at the Farmers Market? Perhaps you cannot afford to do your week’s shopping there, but every Thursday, you could plan to make a meal prepared with local produce. Many Moab Farmers Market vendors accept EBT, and you can even double-up your food dollars! Even if you don’t buy anything, you will be showing up and showing support.

Show your friends, neighbors and the City of Moab that you want local food to be a more important part of your community. The most impactful way to do this is to go to the Moab Farmers Market every Thursday evening from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West. Invite a friend along to shop or join in on your local Thursday meal – use positive peer pressure to increase attendance and interest. Make it contagious. Change in our food scene will not happen because you did not go to market. Change in our food scene will happen because you went to market.

Sarah Perez-Sanz has lived in Moab since 2013, works at the Youth Garden Project and loves eggplant. Her fascination with food, and most anything related to it, began with cooking.

Change in our food scene will not happen because you did not go to market. Change in our food scene will happen because you went to market.